Once you've put in the work of marketing to your ideal clients, you'll likely experience an uptick in new inquiries. This initial point of contact will be a prospective client's first touchpoint with your brand, and it's essential to make a strong first impression.
The key to a strategic design inquiry form is collecting as much information upfront as possible. A common mistake we see is when a designer shares their email address with a message to "reach out and learn more." This approach can lead to countless admin hours responding to emails that aren't a good fit in the first place. Instead, a strategically written design inquiry form will help you understand if a client could be a potential fit and guide those next-step conversations. Read on for the best questions to include.
First, here's why you need a design inquiry form.
No matter where a new lead comes from, always direct them to your inquiry form. This includes leads from Instagram, Google, your website, or even a word-of-mouth referral.
Whenever someone sends a DM, email, or text about working together, have a templated response prepared that says something along the lines of, “Thank you so much for thinking of us! We’re excited to hear more about your project. If you could start by completing the inquiry form on the website, our team will be best prepared to chat further with you.” Your inquiry form is your first line of “defense” against projects that aren’t a good fit, saving you hours of back-and-forth emails.
As you’re creating the inquiry form, remember that it should be in-depth and persuasive. Here are key questions to include:
1: Client Name – First + Last in a separate field. When using our preferred software for interior design businesses, they format your client names in separate fields. Save yourself the trouble of reformatting later by setting your inquiry form up like this.
2. Email + Phone - Email is especially important so you can add them to your mailing list and have a point of contact moving forward. In general, we like to keep all our client communications via email to ensure we have everything documented. After the initial phone consultations, everything else stays in our client management system.
3. Services Interested In - Use checkboxes listing only the services you offer. For interior designers, this usually breaks down to Full-Service Interior Design, E-Design, and Full-Service Design + Project Management. By only providing the service packages you offer, you can eliminate projects too small or too large for your liking. It also helps establish a level of professionalism and expertise.
4: Project Location – Note whether you offer distance design services to clients outside your home region.
5. Scope of Work - This can be a type field, or you can provide a multiple-choice list of rooms for them to select from. Depending on the scale of your business, you may want to up-sell your e-design services to include more rooms than the client originally thought of. However, if you only work with full home renovations and design projects, a type in field will be more appropriate.
6. Goals for the Project - This should be a free response field where your clients can share their vision.
7. Project Timeline - You could set an estimated completion date or a dropdown with timeline options. Then you can provide a more accurate timeline in your follow-up communications.
8. Style Description - This is a perfect place to get a feel for the client and their project. If they want a cool, California casual vibe, you’ll be able to keep an eye out for certain adjectives in this free-response field. This is where you ensure your inquires are the best fit for you and your signature style.
9. Favorite Places to Shop - Asking where a potential client finds homewares and furniture will help you understand their taste and preferred price point.
10. Budget - Important: set budget as a dropdown field! If you have a minimum project budget, don’t include any options below that minimum. That way, inquiries understand what you’re willing to work with, without it being spelled out on the website. Make sure this field clearly asks for their total project budget, including furniture, decor and design fees.
+ Bonus: How They Found You - This gives you insight on where to invest your future marketing efforts.
Using this combination of specific questions and strategic formatting, you’ll provide the guidance a potential client is looking for while also setting expectations for how your business works. While it requires some work up front, writing a solid design inquiry form ensures your client experience always starts off on the right foot.